CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee officially kicked off the superintendent search process Monday night by settling on an eight-member committee that would contain representation from both towns.
"We can get this out ASAP," Superintendent Robert Putnam said. "Let's get this moving."
Putnam, who initially came to the district as interim two years ago, announced in December his intent to retire at the end of this school year.
The committee would contain one School Committee member each from Cheshire and Adams, a member of each town's select board and two residents, also one from each town.
The School Committee also felt a teacher and administrator should serve on the committee. The panel will ask both select boards to choose one of their members and a resident.
Massachusetts Association of School Committees will be brought on to help throughout the search process.
"I think we come away from our meeting with them feeling really good about the level of support they could provide us," Chairman Paul Butler said.
Butler added that they had considered using the University of Massachusetts' Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management, which has worked with the district in the past. Officials were unable to meet with representatives from the Boston center prior to Monday's meeting but felt, in any case, that MASC would be a better financial choice.
"You pay for the services you use. Sometimes it can cost nothing, other times it can be pretty substantial," Butler said. "It just depends on how involved you want them to be."
He said the Collins Center only offered a flat estimated fee of $15,000.
Butler said both seem to offer the same quality of service and pull from the same applicant lists.
Putnam added that part of the process will be to create a brochure that offers potential candidates information about the district, region and the position.
He provided the School Committee with a draft brochure with this basic information as well as a salary range of $115,000 to $135,000.
School Committee member Darlene Rodowicz noted that the actual range is closer to $126,000 to $157,000 but felt it may be more beneficial to leave the range out.
"Why do we have to put a dollar amount? Would not seeing it in the brochure be a reason not to apply?" she asked. "Why can't we just say salary commensurate with experience and find the number that works?"
Hoosac Valley Elementary Principal Christopher Sposato noted that good candidates will look up past contracts and figure out the salary range anyways.
School Committee member Adam Emerson added that not advertising a number would give the School Committee more leeway.
"It will give us some flexibility and we won't be locked into a salary range if we find a superior candidate," he said.
The School Committee agreed to leave out the salary range.
Members also agreed to set a Feb. 23 deadline to apply for the position, with semifinalists being selected that coming week.
Interviews will take place in early March and finalists selected March 12. Final interviews will take place throughout March with a vote to hire a new superintendent expected in early April.
In other business, the School Committee referred to a statement released a few weeks ago in regard to the investigation of a former employee who allegedly sexually abused students in the 1970s.
"The release has gone out," Putnam said. "I just wanted to make sure they were available to people."
The release was a response to the continuing Berkshire Eagle articles that claim wrongdoing on the district's part by not thoroughly investigating the claims that took place 40 years ago.
A few of the victims threatened a possible lawsuit against the district, however, because a suit was never filed against the district, officials closed the books on the investigation.
Butler noted that as of earlier this week, the Eagle has not responded to the press release.
"Inexplicably it has not been printed or even referred to in the press release," he said. "I have no idea the reason why."
The press release in full can be read here on the district's website.
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